Photo: AFP
Building demolished (Archive photo)
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
IDF bombing in Beit Hanoun (Archive photo)
Photo: AP
Palestinian casino dream shattered
Building bombed by IDF in northern Gaza Strip Friday night was meant to serve as bustling recreation, commerce center with fancy casino
The Israel Air Force bombed several Qassam launching sites in the northern Gaza Strip Friday night, demolishing a building which served as a shelter for terrorists as well as a Qassam launching site.


It appears, however, that the building did not always serve as a terror center, but was in fact a recreation center built recently. A fancy casino was planned to be built in the middle of the center.


The building, which was a few stories high, was built not far from the town of Beit Hanoun, and was abandoned in the course of time while
it was still being constructed. Thus, the Palestinians were forced to put aside their dream of a fancy casino.


Over time, intelligence officials in the Southern Command spotted terrorists using the building as an observation post toward the Zikim and Ashkelon areas in southern Israel and as a Qassam launching site. When the terror groups' operation pattern was identified, the army decided to destroy the site.


This is not the first time terror organization make use of buildings constructed for public or governmental needs as terror operation sites. When IDF soldiers were stationed in the Gaza Strip, many buildings were turned into mortar shell launching sites toward Gush Katif communities. Some of the buildings were demolished during an IDF operation on September 2004.


Meanwhile, the IDF decided to expand its operations against Qassam rockets. The Israel Air Force on Saturday launched a strike on unpopulated areas inside Gaza City.


Missile boats fire artillery rounds


The operation marked the first strike targeted against Qassam launchers in open areas since the disengagement plan. Until now, the IDF only operated in the area during targeted killings or in an attempt to hit terror activists on their way to carry out a terror attacks.


The IAF attacked open areas in the past few months, but only in the northern Strip, far away from residents' homes and only in areas which serve as Qassam launching sites. The fire inside Gaza, although not in a populated area, came as a message to the Palestinian leadership.


Simultaneously, IDF missile boats fired artillery rounds at the Gaza Strip for the first time. Two missile boats were transported to the Gaza area for the mission and launched ongoing and massive fire at areas in the northern Strip. The navy joined the battle during the week by firing shells at areas in the northern Strip, which are more difficult to fire at from the land.


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